Laura Whitmore has spoken out against newspapers and Twitter trolls, saying she wants to use her platform to “call people out”.
The Irish presenter was speaking after news that Caroline Flack took her own life aged just 40.
Flack was found dead at her flat in east London on Saturday night.
Speaking on her Radio 5 Live show on Sunday morning, Whitmore said she wanted to talk about Flack’s death “and give her the respect she deserves, and didn’t always get”.
Whitmore replaced her as the presenter of the first winter series of Love Island after charges of assault were brought against Flack for allegedly attacking her boyfriend Lewis Burton.
Describing Flack as “vivacious, loving and with a passion for life”, Whitmore said “none of this makes sense”.
While she paid tribute to Flack’s many talents, she admitted: “She had many struggles and wasn’t perfect… and she lived every mistake publicly under the scrutiny of the media.”
She went on: “Caroline loved love, that’s all she wanted, which is why Love Island was so important to her. The show was about finding love, friendship and having a laugh.
“The problem wasn’t the show – the show to work on is loving and caring and safe and protected, the problem is the outside world is not.”
Whitmore then took aim at those she believes added to her pressures.
She said: “Anyone who’s ever compared one woman against another on Twitter, knocked someone because of their appearance, invaded someone else’s privacy or who have made mean unnecessary comments on an online forum need to look at themselves.”
She added: “To the press and newspapers who create click bait, who demonise and tear down success, we’ve had enough.
“I’ve seen journalists and Twitter-warriors talk of this tragedy and who’ve twisted what the truth is. You don’t have to tear down someone to feel good about yourself.”
Whitmore then made an emotional plea for people to “be kind” and take responsibility for the way they treat others.
Admitting that she herself has been harassed for “just doing my job”, she said she now wants to use her platform to speak out.
She warned: “It’s gone too far. Your words affect people. For paparazzi and newspapers looking for a cheap-sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard, enough.”
She thanked her boyfriend, Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, and the whole Love Island family who she said are “in mourning for their colleague and friend”.
Whitmore ended her tribute by saying: “Caroline, I’m so sad for you and for your family. I’m angry that you saw this as your only option as I know how much love and support you had. I’m sorry you didn’t know that.
“I’m not sure when, but I know I’ll see you on a dance floor again and I hope you are at peace and know you are loved.”
Angels by Robbie Williams played out after Whitmore’s statement, as a nod to Flack’s Strictly Come Dancing success and love of dance.
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.